Breathing issues

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by the newbie, Dec 21, 2011.

  1. the newbie

    the newbie Pianissimo User

    Jan 27, 2011
    San Francisco
    Anybody know any good breathing tips etc, i find myself always taking in more breath than i need to and then have got lots left over and start to suffocate myself at the end of a passage.

    I just got hold of an Arbans book and i am starting from the beginning, if i take breaths everytime im told to, i end up with too much air inside. I played with the idea of breathing in at every other breath notation but i dont think thats how it should be done, (im trying to do it right.)

    I kind of have the idea that its probably better to have too much air than too little in the storage tank, but this is probably wrong.

    Probably just takes time practice and experience huh? I read somewhere that you should breath as if you were singing (Im a terrible singer btw).

    any little pearls of wisdom out there you wouldnt mind sharing?
  2. codyb226

    codyb226 Banned

    Mar 9, 2011
    Florida, US
    Take short little breaths, dont inhale all you can.
  3. Bogieboy

    Bogieboy Pianissimo User

    Dec 20, 2011
    Cody is right... Once you learn the piece, you kinda get a feel for how much air you need to take in, pretty quick it just becomes second nature, and you always have enough without all the extra....
  4. Mark_Kindy

    Mark_Kindy Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 11, 2010
    Gainesville, FL
    As you progress you get a better feel for taking in what air you need. I find that (in my experience) band directors (secondary school) tend to encourage breathing in as much air as you can hold EVERY time you breathe. I find it's better to take in only what you need, and gauge how much that is, so you keep a relaxed breath and reduce tension in the body.

    Rowuk has posted some things on his concept of "circle of breath". I suggest you also search the forum for this.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2011
  5. Chuck Cox

    Chuck Cox Forte User

    Oct 3, 2008
    Cary NC
    Hyperventilate with pure oxygen off stage 3 minutes before you go on.
  6. TrumpetMonk

    TrumpetMonk Pianissimo User

    Jul 22, 2009
    West virginia
    I think that if you can just take a natural, full breath and not try and over due it, you'll be better off. I used to over think the breath so much (and still do sometimes, not much thank the Lord!). Rafael once said that trumpet should take no more effort than talking. So maybe if you try and think about just taking a normal breath like before a long sentence, that may help with the problem. Best of luck though!
  7. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

    Mar 25, 2005
    Indianapolis, In
    If you really want to learn about breathing and air get hold of the books about Arnold Jacobs methods. He was absolutely the answer to air and breathing. Luis Loubriel has two of the books out about him "Lasting Change for Trumpeters" and their is another that I don't remember. Both books are available through Scholar Publications. Scholar can be found on the web.
  8. the newbie

    the newbie Pianissimo User

    Jan 27, 2011
    San Francisco
    Thanks guys... I also noticed i have been playing with a closed throat and kinda trying to push the airstream out with my neck and throat muscles, not a good practice. so i adjusted it doing a yawn type excercise thing to get the feel of an open throat and noticed a vast difference in that it was a lot easier to take air in and blow it out, and my playing improved a lot with range and an ease of power that iahdnt felt before,,, but then my lips got tired because i had practised too long, so i had to stop, but cant wait until tomorrow to try this new technique out more.
  9. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011
    There's been some good suggestions so far. Mostly advising a form of what we would call "timed breathing". or getting used to taking enough breath to finish a phrase.

    Another good idea is to do what you did in grade school and just pencil in some breath marks. i do that today 47 years later.

    But the best idea is (of course!) mine.

    Build up the capacity of your lungs. This doesn't mean taking the deepest breath possible. In fact you really ought not ever be taking in much more than 3/4's of your total capacity before blowing a phrase. Over breathing is uncomfortable, distracting and possibly unhealthy. Instead simply practice filling your lungs up as much as possible without playing your trumpet at all.

    Arnod Jacobs, the late great tubist w/ the Chicago Symphony pulled this experiment with his peers. A trick really. he had them fill up a one liter sized balloon on just one breath. guess what?

    the trumpet players all flunked. As did the French Hornists. A few trombonists passed (just barely).

    So Jacobs shows them how to do it. he takes in a deep breath, fills up one balloon. FILLS UP A SECOND BALLOON. AND STARTS AND (almost) FILLS UP THE THIRD!!! But here's the real killer.


    Another way to build lung capacity is to play the Clarke technical Studies exactly as prescribed by Clarke himself here:Technical studies for the cornet - Herbert Lincoln Clarke - Google Books

    Play Etude V the whole page on one breath. We had a cat in college who could do it twice. He was an olympic swimmer though. told me he thought he could probably work it three times.

    My breath control isn't quite that good. And you might describe what my friend did as at least a little excessive. however i can finish some really long phrases without running out of air. meanwhile my local peers gasping several times to pull in air.

    With good breath control there is little to no worry about running low. Making the "timed breathing" concept almost irrelevant. So practice them Clarkes. Again: EXACTLY as written. the old man knew his stuff. Another thing; increasing lung capacity is twofold.

    1. Your lungs do grow and get bigger.

    2. You learn how to dig that last ounce of air out of your lower abdomen. In fact part 2 could be the more important element of increasing functional lung capacity. The use of the muscles which push out that last gasp of air are also responsible for increasing lung power and confidence oddly.

    Remind me to tell you about the trombonist I studied with who could single tongue sixteenths at 156 beats per minute. Now he was something.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2011
  10. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Also, try to avoid stacking breaths: Continuing to breathe in breaths without releasing what was there previously. After each phrase, let out the unused air, than take in another volume of fresh air.

    Don't get me wrong, stacking air can be a great pre-performance breathing exercise. Stacking will open up distal airways to allow for more vital capacity. Once this is achieved, the airways should remain open for some time, definitely throughout a performance.

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